‘State assistance needed for businesses to survive’

JOHOR BARU: Business groups here are appealing to the Johor government to include more financial aid and incentives in the upcoming state budget to help them survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johor Food Truck Association president Yusrezan Samsuri said that as the border with Singapore was expected to remain closed for longer, businesses here were in desperate need of assistance and an intervention from the state government.

“We hope the state government can provide incentives such as one-off cash handouts or grants to the business community in Johor, who are barely surviving.

“It will at least allow us to survive for a couple more months while we wait for the border to reopen, ” he said.

He hopes that the state government will also provide more leeway for businesses to operate under the current conditional movement control order (MCO), including being allowed to operate after 10pm.

“Given the current circumstances, I hope that the state government will make it easier for traders to get licences from local councils to open new stalls, ” he added.

Malaysia Federation of Hawkers and Petty Traders Associations president Datuk Yow Boon Choon echoed the sentiment, adding that the government should also help businesses get some flexibility from banks and the local authorities.

“Businesses are trying their best to follow the standard operating procedures as they are also concerned about the pandemic, but the authorities should not be too quick to punish them if they make an honest mistake.

“I hope the government will assist us in getting leeway from banks in paying our debts until the situation has improved, ” he said, adding that it was the best way to help the business community.

“However, the most important thing is to continue pushing for the reopening of the border with Singapore. That is the only way for us to survive in the long run, ” noted Yow.

Johor Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry secretary Datuk K. Krishnan said the state government should focus on giving the people more purchasing power in order for businesses to pull through this period.

“The most important thing is to ensure that the people have money to buy goods.

“There is no point in having many new businesses mushrooming but all are unable to make a living and have to shut down after a while.

“The state government needs to provide more cash incentives to the public as this will help businesses by getting more customers, ” he said.

He also hopes that the state government will look into finding a feasible way to help small businesses cope with paying their rent and utilities.

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